If I want to write a book with a title that was used by a popular band both in song and for a album name, do they have any legal claim to that phrase if I don’t reference the band?

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If I want to write a book with a title that was used by a popular band both in song and for a album name, do they have any legal claim to that phrase if I don’t reference the band?

Asked on July 8, 2013 under Business Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they will presumably have copyright and possibly also trademark in that name; therefore, the use of the name could violate their intellectual property and give them a legal claim against you. The issue is whether they do have copyright or trademark in the name; that depends on whether the name is already in the public domain. If the name is a common phrase, name, or saying, it's probably in the public domain; if it is not, however, it may be protected.


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